BANGKOK: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today called on international monitoring bodies to keep track of deportation initiatives for Rohingya refugees.
He said this was because the deportation plan for the Rohingya refugees showed that their opinions were not taken into consideration.
“Their opinions must be taken into account because they are afraid to go back to Rakhine State.
“We really hope that if they are to be deported, the international community would monitor and ensure that they will not have to face any action from the Rakhine State and Myanmar authorities,” he told a press conference here today after concluding his four-day working visit to Thailand in conjunction with the 34th Asean Summit.
The Rohingya issue was among the concerns raised by Mahathir at the summit.
Mahathir went on to say that Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) was the only leader who had been very vocal in pointing out issues concerning Rohingya refugees at the summit.
“He (Jokowi) spoke only on that subject (Rohingya). I spoke about many things,” he said.
When asked whether he spoke to Myanmar de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the summit, Mahathir said: “She was seated next to me, arranged by alphabetical order, even when we eat.”
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.